Deputy President David Mabuza has revealed that the country will need R65 billion to settle thousands of outstanding land restitution claims.
The claims date back to 1998 when the first deadline of land claims was set down by the government.
In the second phase, when the government allowed the reopening of land claims in 2014, after the adoption of the Land Restitution Act, the process was halted by the Constitutional Court in 2016 because of the invalidity of the law.
Thousands of new claims were lodged between 2014 and 2016, when the apex court stopped the process to allow for amendments to the law.
Mabuza, who was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday, said the government needed to deal with the outstanding land claims.
“We must acknowledge the slow pace (with which) we have dealt with the claims,” he said.
“As highlighted in our response, there is a need on our side to strengthen capacity to accelerate the finalisation of all outstanding claims.
“The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has developed a backlog reduction strategy to ensure that government accelerates all outstanding claims that were lodged before the 31st of December 1998. Of course, the reality is that the current fiscal constraints are posing serious limitations on our ability to move with the necessary speed. It has been projected that almost R65bn will be required to settle all outstanding claims,” Mabuza said.
He said they would return to Parliament to give a progress report on the matter.